On the eve of participating in our first ever business awards (we are finalists in the Outstanding New Business and Young Business Entrepreneur categories for the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce), I thought it would be good to write on what we've learnt.
One of our marketing strategies with Digit is to improve our brand awareness and positioning in the market. Part of that strategy is to apply for business awards that are relevant to the business in order to provide a credible form of social proofing. Client testimonials are perfect for speaking to business owners about other people who have gone through their journey before them. Awards are perfect as you have a panel of respected businesses determining that you are performing better than your peers. Both help to position your business as an authority.
This year is the first time we've been in a position to apply for awards. The business is 17 months old, and this time last year was that little bit too soon.
The bit that I love about the process though is completing the applications.
As weird as that sounds - the application process forces you to review, and look in on all aspects of your business. For a period of a few days to a week - you're outside of your business looking in. This allows you to reflect on how far you've come, appreciate whether you've met the goals you set for yourself, and where you need to go.
The applications themselves are also great at highlighting areas of weakness in your business. The Telstra application process for example considers whether you have a documented plan in place (in areas such as business strategy, marketing strategy, sales, workplace safety & health, social impact, business continuity) and whether you plan on executing that plan into the future. Understanding areas of weakness presents a great opportunity to improve.
The trick to making the most of that, of course, is whether you implement change within your business to address those weaknesses. There's no point understanding what you need to improve if you don't go out and do it.
So what can you take away from today?
- Apply for awards that are relevant to your business
- Use them as a way to build your brand, and position yourself above your competitors
- Use the application process as a way of reviewing your business, your progress and your goals
- Apply the changes to improve your business
- And have fun
Whether you win or lose, there's a benefit to applying for awards. Even if you feel your business is too new, or not ready.